Monday, May 29, 2006

Songs 141 to 151

Back for more post-mani/pedi and pre-bedroom cleaning. Before moving forward, let me say that I find Taylor Hicks really odd; he looks like the weird every-age guy who works at the Lil' Champ, and he sounds like Michael McDonald. This is the next big thing? Perhaps on QVC. At least that McPhee chick has a Mandy Moore-ish quality; maybe she can be on Entourage this season. On another note, I can't believe that I've now listened to 151 songs, almost all by artists I never knew existed. This has been so fun. And, dear reader, buy the Weepies CD; it is a real keeper. My son and I shared the iPod-phones and danced around to them yesterday whilst watching the rain fall heavily outside. The grin on his face was absolute magic!

Song 141: The Album Leaf, "Twenty Two Fourteen." I don't think I realized this was an instrumental when I downloaded it. It sounds a bit like Sigur Ros for those who are afeared of Hopelandish. (Wow, I wrote this before seeing on their website that they record with SR musicians at the SR studio. I'm so with it--and they're so treading the line between homage and theft.) Kinda trancey and long.

Song 142: Asylum Street Spankers, "Breathin'." The name intrigued although the use of the apostrophe frightened. The song is a nice retro number: think rolled hair, red lips, seamed hose, and print dress. This is classic dinner party music: pleasant but not intrusive. I'd listen to more.

Song 143: Charlatans UK, "Blackened Blue Eyes." Yes, they are totally still around and totally sound the same. Full on Manchester in the house! This song offers the same mix of snotty brit and bright light ecstacy dance that we know and love. Fun nostalgia that still rocks.

Song 144: Earlimart, "All They Ever Do Is Talk." A bit slow moving, which I'm guessing is the band's style since they seem very comfortable in it, but it leaves me slightly bored. The song picks up a little in the chorus, though this particular sonic rush seems a little cribbed from so many others. Eh.

Song 145: Embrace, "Ashes." This has a post-anthemic feeling--driving beat, assured but longing vocals, rounded up chorus. A style of music that seems to me particularly English, made for big soccer stadiums and much arm waving. Think Robbie Williams' "Angels." Of course, after I wrote this, I found the Embrace website and learned they've recorded an official World Cup song. Told ya!

Song 146: The Faders, "No Sleep Tonight." Another sexualized female empowerment rocker. This one has a nice driving drumbeat that move it forward. It kind of has a threatening inevitability about it rather than a fun sassiness though. A joyless anthem for the Girls Gone Wild world.

Song 147: The Glands, "When I Laugh." Opens kind of folky before moving into pop-ish rock, and the lead singer's voice is nasal-y and Dylan-y. But it seems purposely so and is a bit to affected. It's catchy but disposable. I can't find any official Glands site, but it seems they're from Athens. So you can probably drive over and find them there; if you do, tell them their webmaster needs to write better code so that their site can be located. (While searching, I found the official website for the Universal Zulu Nation, who knows why, so what the hey, here it is.)

Song 148: Ivy, "Edge of the Ocean." This song veers near the Enya riptide but is saved by some mild electronica. It's a bit Dido-y but rockier and more soundscape-y. It's good music for background, but from this song, I'd say a little goes a long way.

Song 149: Louque, "Art." This is a good song. I don't know anything about the band (it seems to come from Lousiana). The chorus is catchy; its got a soul/hip-hop/electronica vibe that I would usually peg as British. It almost feels like an updated SoulIISoul; a new house vibe.

Song 150: Michelle Featherstone, "Sweet, Sweet Baby." A very pretty and touching song. Her voice is clear and rides nicely over the instrumentation. It's not cloying or precious. There is an element of Sheryl Crow here I think, but Ms. Featherstone is not trying so hard to be ripped and cool. I like this.

Song 151: West Indian Girl, "What Are You Afraid Of." Not this song (get it?). This is a nice update of the vein mined by Lush in the 1990s. There's a real sense of musical place here; someplace other than where I'm sitting, some aural plane. It's cool and trippy. I like the song, though the text on the band's website creeps me out only slightly more than its photos.

215 to go.

Songs 136 to 140

Wow, being a single parent is tough. My husband was away for a week and a half, during which I decided that I would become a whole new person . . . well, at least as it concerns housecleaning. So, for over 2 weeks, I have kept my house "up" on a regular basis and have been amazed at what it does for the psyche. But, whew!! Between that, work, writing, and running after my children, it kinda takes away the blogging time. Still, I have been listening to a passel of new songs (mostly in my car and again while whipping out a new porch quilt once my husband got home), so here goes. Oh, I discovered the NPR book podcast, which is nice "binding a quilt" listening. Oh, and I changed my numerical format for the titles as part of my lifestyle streamlining. Oh, and this is the all-J edition of SAFTBRC.

Song 136: Jeannie Ortega, "Crowded." A free iTunes download that's disposable fun. She completely sounds like J-Lo and Papoose sounds like Jay-Z. But, the song has a cool, Indian-ish opening and a very funny shout-out to R. Kelly. If repurposed, it would actually make a great Bollywood song.

Song 137: Jens Lekman, "Black Cab." This has a Brit-Replacements feel--hung-over ennui played out over a kind of Mersey beat instrumentation (but I think he might be Canadian). It's catchy in a downer way. The content really reminds me of the end to Elizabeth Bowen's "Demon Lover," which I'm sure is what he was going for.

Song 138: Jon Brion, "Knock Yourself Out." I Heart Huckabees has been on a bunch this month; I really love Marky Mark's performance in that movie. This song is from the film and is nicely hum-able in that Jon Brion way, where the lyrics are undercut by the music (or vice versa). Short and sweet.

Song 139: Jose Gonzalez, "Heartbeats." I know this is from an ad, but I can't remember for what . . . something involving a car. It's really beautiful and simple, kind of hypnotic actually. This song can cure high blood pressure, I'm certain. Put it on a loop and sit back.

Song 140: Jaymay, "Gray or Blue." She really reminds me of Nellie McKay: kind of precious and quirky. Still, the song is appealing--a tale of love thwarted by friendship that still leaves room for the longing and hope. The music perks along nicely and fits well with her vocals.

225 to go.